CHAPTER BOOK: CHAPTER SEVEN
Living in Gratitude
Illusion of Self
There comes a time in everyone’s life when self-evaluation takes place. We recall our earlier years within the morning of our life, not necessarily accepting where we have traveled or what we have done. As we look back, we choose to move forward in a different direction…a direction leading towards purpose. What is that purpose? Only we have that answer. What is that purpose for you, the reader? Often the answer is “I don’t know.” Do not worry the answer will present itself with time.
The truth is we have lived our whole life on auto-pilot, never really paying attention to details of life…only taking them for granted. It is time to reclaim our lives; it is time to make the change. Making changes, we see for the very first time. Committing to being present in our days, being present with our choice to be on purpose — wow, that is a lot of being!
Accepting our Path
We all come to a point in our lives — a point of self-reflection — contemplating where we have gone and what we’ve contributed in life. It is the transition everyone must go through, taking us from the morning of our lives to the afternoon of our lives. Carl Jung often referred to this as the shift into the afternoon of our lives. Those who transition find happiness and live happily ever after, but those who do not…go on miserably.
The mid-life crisis is labeled for such an event. A time when we must change the way we see things in life, letting go of our past experiences and what we have already learned. Letting go lighten the load as we embark on a new beginning of our lives. Again, those who make the shift find happiness. Those who do not let go of the past will continue a “living death.” A living death is where we take up space, breathing in the air while slowly decaying away.
As long as we are green, we are growing. Yellow, we are a dying fellow. Brown…we are down.
~Cal (at five years of age)
Shifting into the afternoon of our lives, we instinctively look to fulfill a purpose, a purpose that many struggles to find. Sages, gurus, yogis and other enlightened beings often say we must “go within” to find our purpose. The formula for finding purpose is so simple that many will shun the idea. Is there a yearning to do something wonderful within this lifetime? Is there an idea to explore since childhood? Chances are, this is the answer we are looking for.
What is it that you would love to do? What if you won a million dollars or there was unlimited funding? What would you do if there was no worry of financial responsibility? Is it dancing? Singing? Helping others? Opening a restaurant? Whatever speaks when given the possibility of unlimited resources, chances are it is an inner calling.
The dilemma comes with societal conditioning. We have been conditioned to think we need to make more money, have a “real job,” or have a respected place in society. We can do this, running the risk of sacrificing our happiness, or we can focus our intent on our happiness, running the risk of sacrificing our monetary returns. The chances are the latter will not occur, for when we are driven by passion — abundance just flows. Do we focus on money or happiness? It is possible to have both with emphasis on happiness or quality of life.
If you love what you do, you will profit from your success.
If happiness is not present while making the shift, then it is time for a change. Change towards happiness is always a good idea — make it now. Our world becomes clearer, easier, and blissful — making a leap from inactive to the active side of infinity. Synchronicity becomes more prevalent in our daily activities, continually sparking ‘aha’ moments. Taking this leap may require a bit of labor and faith. Do you know of someone who has made a significant change in life while going against the grain of what everyone else suggested they do? These are the Warriors who decide it is time to be happy once and for all. Everything on the line, they leap.
Once a man has committed to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call Heart power. Once a man has made the commitment, nothing will stop him short of success. ~Vince Lombardi
We return now to a lesson from Ani Po…
Pondering the thought of standing firmly in Her beliefs, Ani Po reflects on the changes she has made in Her life. From pilgrim to Warrior, with a single thought…Her life changed forever. Realizing She has stepped onto the path of Warrior, She knows She can never go back to the way it was.
With further reflection, She recalls a friend transitioning to the afterlife…
Now in hospice care, the family says, “He has suddenly become ill.” Ani Po knows differently and has known that he has been dying for some time. While we are all dying, this man gave up on living about ten years ago and followed a path of Darkness. Ani Po, for years, tried to get him to see Light but with no success.
Ani Po: “Why are you always so negative? Can’t you find positive in any given situation?”
Friend: “No. I see things as they are, and it isn’t always pretty.”
Ani Po: “ If you cannot find good in any given situation, then you are already dead. Sadly, we think things are horrible, which is the only reality we’ve ever known. Have you ever read The Death of Ivan Illych?”
“ No Ani Po.”
“ I would highly recommend it.”
What if my whole life was wrong? ~Ivan Illych
While Her friend’s health options sadden Ani Po, She respects Her friend’s decision to die, knowing that maybe this is how her friend chose to live his life — alone till the bitter end. The truth is — our world is a mirror image of how we see ourselves. If we are inspired and feel alive, then we live as such. If we feel the world falling around us, we slowly decay until death. It is paradoxical, this two-way mirror, what is reflected on the inside projects outward and what we witness on the outside we allow into our inner thoughts. We all have a choice to believe in negativity or positivity. One promises growth, the other death. While death is imminent, we do not have to leave this place in misery. The two-way mirror can reflect how our thoughts project into the world — negativity begets negativity, positivity spreading positivity.
Are we dying while living in negative? Or merely spreading a not-so-desirable outcome into the world? Seeing the world through a negative lens — reduced to a bleak and disparate reality. Is this real? What is?
Living through the eyes of positivity, living a false reality? Fairy tale of sorts? Can we live in positivity, with lingering past and hidden shadows of self? My hopes through this journey are passing along a necessity of embracing both the positive and negative of life. Seeing as a whole, the Canvas reveals hidden secrets.
Stepping into the Canvas with an indomitable spirit.
The only person who can conquer self is the self. When someone brings negativity towards you, turn up the positivity. Step with confidence today, knowing that your afternoon has arrived and is about to get a lot Brighter. You are a Warrior, and you are no longer afraid.
Finding Light Within Darkness
We cannot understand up without defining down; right and left; in and out; positive and negative. Similarly, it is Darkness that often shows us Light. Within our Darkness Shines a Light of Hope. This is not a duality but a whole — as one cannot exist without the other. Stepping into the Canvas, there is always the potential for Light within the Darkness — a divine dichotomy of existence.
Whatever one’s given situation presents, a possibility to see the lighter side of things is at hand. Even death, as saddening as it may be, there is always good to be found — one need only look closely to find. See the silver lining in every cloud, and paradise shall be yours. Caution: people will accuse you of being crazy or even delusional — stay the course.
Studying history and cyclical patterns on a grander level. Previously we spoke of cycles of the self, but on a global whole, we have greater cycles of hate versus love, us vs. them mentality. We have been trained to claim what was or wasn’t ours in the first place, identifying with our stuff as an extension of self. Gladly we let go, freeing the bondage of what was — accepting what will be.
The majority of people live under one giant bell curve, following the rest of the people while spinning their wheels to remain with the majority. The good news — we are not in this curve, but an outlier of this bell curve and possibly even shifting the curve! Dare to shift the bell curve towards the Lighter Side of Infinity — allowing others to get just one more glimpse of Hope for all Humanity — leaving victim mentality behind for ever.
There is a scientific study that proves victim mentality. If we fill a bucket full of crabs, they will settle to the bottom. Once they are trapped within the confines of the bucket, one crab will attempt to get out. The saddening effect is when the other crabs accept their misery and pull the crab, who attempts to escape, back into the bucket of misery. Similarly, as humans, some think differently and attempt to get out of the bucket of misery — only to be pulled back in. Stay strong — for they no longer have a grip on our actions.
Stepping into the Canvas in Darkness. Allow yourself to travel into Darkness, closing your eyes to that around you. Entering the sacred space within, we see a flickering light waiting to shine — the Light of Hope that will Light the way during darkened times. Be still, embrace the Darkness only for a moment — Now grasp the Light, allowing brighter days ahead — Love, Light and Life.
Transmutation of self, an outlier is what they are. Metamorphosis of global consciousness, a paradigm shift of realities. ~Ani Po
This Is The Day our Life Will Surely Change
This is the day
Your life will surely change.
What you do with every breath, Every step,
Will determine tomorrow. It may not come,
But continue forward.
Your hands are His.
Your feet walk as Hers.
Your mind shall think like His.
Your Heart was transplanted with Hers. With eyes of Hope,
Thoughts in faith.
Your steps shall be with grace; Actions will be of peace.
Yesterday has passed
Leading to today.
Give thanks for every moment before — And to come.
This is the day your life will surely change.
Changing direction towards happiness — hearing things never heard before — what is that noise?
Those are birds. Listen closely — hear them call our names.
Stepping into the Canvas with an Attentive Ear, listening for the beauty to break out in song. Taking time to enjoy the Canvas — it returns the message — declaring — I AM Here. Be here, Be Now — listen to the Canvas speak your name. Be Here, Be Now — whisper a soft return — thank you — I Love you. In stillness, we are calmed. In calmness, we are freed.
Ever wonder what your purpose is? Ever wonder what you are supposed to do with your life? Have you taken the time to pamper yourself? Have you taken the time to be still? All questions are answered by taking time to be in the present moment — shall answer all of these questions — If only we took time to be present. Being present, sight becomes clear. Being present, speech softens. Being present, lends an attentive ear.
Stepping into the Canvas, the wind called my name. ~Ani Po
Spiritual Exercise: Living in Gratitude
1. Everything is a Gift
The truth is…everything is a gift, and there is much to be grateful for. Sadly, we have been trained to move forward quickly, missing the opportunity to be present with gratitude. In a single breath, there is a gift. In another, we share the gift…returning and receiving repeatedly. The old cycle of divide and conquer has gone, while a new give and receive has begun. Through gratitude, we are restored, allowing spiritual eyes to paint a brighter day — every day!
Think for a moment, whether obvious or not/ good or bad, seek the silver lining. Instead of seeing the terrible car accident — seeing the heroism that arrives on time, instead of seeing a horribly long workday — seeing a blessing that we have a job, etc. etc.
2. Share the Gift
There isn’t anything to share but joy itself. No matter the circumstance, we can shed Light on a bleak situation. When we find our inner guidance and Light, we choose to share this Light. Not from an ego stance, telling people what ‘they should do’ but instead allowing them to see the choices they may have.
In our gratitude, we give thanks. Giving thanks, we receive more to be thankful for. Shifting the bell curve, filling our lives with happiness…we invite others to receive the same. In our receiving, we are giving to others…in a slightly different manner.
3. Giving is Receiving
In giving, we are receiving. Through our generous or kind acts, we share in gratitude with others. In giving, they are receiving. Through their receiving, we are receiving. In gratitude, there yields more gratitude through the gratitude of another.
There inlay the paradox of Living in Gratitude. As we give thanks for our days, we share the gift with another. In sharing, we are giving it all away. In giving, we are receiving through the Light shared with another. It is a win-win situation!
Start with a daily reflection: think of three things to be grateful for each day. Write them down. As we begin this habit, we grow in gratitude…allowing more gratitude to paint our days.
Here is one example of starting a day in gratitude:
Facing the South, “Good morning to the South and all my Relations, walk with me on this new day.” Repeat this facing the West, North and East. Looking to Upper Skies and Mother Earth below our feet. Finally, we call upon the Self and all Her Relations, asking the same. Each time we call on a Cardinal Direction: breathe in energies of past, present and future relations; breathe out love and gratitude, expanding our field of understanding.
Humbled to our knees, with head resting on the bosom of Mother Earth, “AS I step out kissing the Earth in Peace and Love, I give thanks for this Great Canvas before me.”
Next…do at least one kind of act per day. Through our generous hearts, we give thanks for the ability to share this gift of life. In sharing, we are giving and receiving all at the same time.
Finally, look ahead, seeking additional, creative ways to share in gratitude.